In a significant move towards tackling youth unemployment and promoting digital innovation, the Federal Government of Nigeria is gearing up to launch the $617.7 million Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (i-DICE) program. Spearheaded by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration, the i-DICE program is set to create 1.2 million digital jobs and foster economic growth with a focus on inclusivity.
The Vice President, Kashim Shettima, recently directed the i-DICE Steering Committee to ensure the program’s swift commencement, targeting a start date before the end of November 2023. During a meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Sen. Shettima stressed the program’s importance in addressing youth unemployment and urged all partners to responsibly utilize the funds, recognizing the potential for transformative impact.
“The peculiarity of the challenges we face in the country demands that we have to create jobs for our teeming youths to address the crises associated with youth unemployment,” Vice President Shettima emphasized, underlining the administration’s commitment to fulfilling its promises to the Nigerian people.
The i-DICE program is poised to make a substantial impact on Nigeria’s digital landscape. Minister of Finance, Mr. Wale Edun, described it as a key initiative in President Tinubu’s promise to create 1.2 million digital jobs, emphasizing its potential for inclusivity with 50% participation by women.
Mr. Bosun Tijjani, Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, emphasized the significance of supporting local technology startups. He stated, “The Nigerian technology and creative ecosystem has been doing well and is the best on the continent. We actually want to be a leader globally. And there’s no other way to do that than investing in the technology startups that are building these solutions.”
The i-DICE program is a collaborative effort, with funding secured from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the French Development Agency (AFD), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and the Bank of Industry (BOI). It aims to cover various digital, creative, and entertainment sectors, particularly those of interest to youth.
“The Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (i-DICE) Program is actually a $617 million program. The funding has been concluded with African Development Bank (AfDB), the French Development Agency (AFD), and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB),” explained Mr. Kayode Pitan, Managing Director of the Bank of Industry. He added, “It will cover the digital area, the creative area, and entertainment area, especially the areas that the youth are interested in. So, this is actually for the youths – people below 35. We have some grants, we have some loans. There’s some equity, and for the startups, the government is hoping that some new unicorns are going to emerge from this particular program.”
The i-DICE program demonstrates the Federal Government’s commitment to fostering a thriving digital and creative ecosystem, empowering the youth, and positioning the country as a global technology leader. With a focus on job creation, innovation, and inclusivity, it represents a significant step forward in Nigeria’s digital transformation journey.
Source: State House Nigeria
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